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Leading Change Through Professional Development: An Exploration of a New Faculty Orientation Program

Shawn W Burns, Johnson & Wales University


This study explored new faculty satisfaction with participation in a professional development orientation program at a New England-based graduate-level, military institution of higher education. The new faculty orientation program had not been previously explored. The purpose of this study was to describe participant satisfaction with an ultimate goal of program improvement. Certain applied research fields, such as war gaming, lack a supporting academic infrastructure to prepare faculty before arrival. New faculty in the war gaming department studied, rely on professional development, including orientation, to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for success. Research questions focused on orientation program participant satisfaction and improvement recommendations. Responding to faculty needs is a key role of professional development (Sorcinelli, Austin, Eddy, & Beach, 2008). The study applied the Adult Learning Model for Faculty Development (Lawler & King, 2000) as a guiding framework. This study employed a mixed methods, descriptive design, with a sequential explanatory strategy. The quantitative phase used survey questionnaires to gather descriptions of participant satisfaction, subsequently used to inform development of the qualitative phase's standardized interview script. The study focused on two cohorts (N = 9) in one department, at one institution, with no purpose of generalizability. However, using the principle of proximal similarity (Campbell, 1986), comparable institutions may find portions of this study relevant. Sources of bias include the researcher, while not the creator of the orientation program studied, serves as the studied department's professional development coordinator. Findings included identification of the need for a capstone integrating activity, easier access to professional development materials, and desire for a mentoring program. Recommendations include: (1) refinement to the process for explaining new faculty expectations; (2) initiation of a mentoring program; (3) creation of a comprehensive war gaming process description to frame and guide professional development programming, including the new faculty orientation program curriculum; (4) creation and incorporation of a integrating, experiential orientation program activity; and (5) improvement of the organization and access to professional development materials.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Educational leadership|Adult education

Recommended Citation

Burns, Shawn W, "Leading Change Through Professional Development: An Exploration of a New Faculty Orientation Program" (2013). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3561121.